After a few days partying in Mykonos, and almost a week of blissful relaxation in Koufonissi, we packed everything and jumped on the Sea Jet boat to Folegandros (φολέγανδρος), a remote and rocky small island in the Aegean Sea, about 40km north of Santorini.
Folegandros is one of the very few relatively undiscovered Greek islands, a small paradise of tranquility and nature, and is made of three small villages, Chora, Karavostasis (the port), and Ano Meria, which are all connected by one very a steep road.
For years, Folegandros had no electricity or hotels. Now things have changed, and many visitors venture to this island in summer, but it’s far from being a tourist trap, and still maintains its authenticity and unique identity; so much so, that every summer the island is sold out, due to the limited availability of accommodation.
Chora, with its narrow streets packed with restaurants and cafes, and the breathtaking panoramic view over the sea at sunset, is probably the most picturesque of the three villages.
The beaches are not far away and many can be reached by foot, if you are a keen hiker. Or, if you are Italian you would probably opt for a scooter (motorbike) – provided that you can find one, since they too get sold out. Another option is to use the local bus – there are only 2 buses circulating around the island and 1 taxi (!).
Half an hour’s walk from Chora or 5 minutes by bike, is the little bay of Egiali, a spectacular amphitheater of rocks, reflected in the crystal clear blue waters, a handful of houses and a few tavernas.
Moored in the bay, a gulet runs to the nearby beaches of Agios Nicolaos and Agios Livadaki. Another beach that can be reached only by sea from Karavostasis is Katergo.
We stayed at Folegandros Apartments, a secluded compound of cozy apartments with kitchenette (that we never used), 1 minute from the hustle and bustle of Chora and literally on the stone paved path (10 minute walk) to the Panagia monastery, the most well known church of Folegandros, built on a rocky hill.
A great lunch (or dinner even!) spot in Chora is To Goupi, a tiny family-run ouzeri where we sampled local mezze washed down by Fix beer.
Everything is freshly cooked with love by Dina, the owner, and served by her daughter. The moussaka was delicious, but my absolute favorite dish were the courgette balls.
One night, tired of eating grilled octopus and seafood, we decided to take a break from traditional Greek cuisine and headed to Eva’s Garden.
Tucked away into beautiful Chora, a couple of minutes walk from the center plaza, Eva’s Garden serves some of the best food we had in Folegandros.
The atmosphere is very special – courtesy of the idyllic garden scattered with jasmine trees, making it a perfect spot for a spectacular dinner under the stars. Decor is simple but very tasteful and full of colour. All of the dishes were perfectly executed, rocking Greek specialties with a twist. My personal highlight was the rabbit.
No visit to Chora is complete without taking a look at the shop of designer Louis Gerardos, and his unique fashion pieces, and of course, sipping an Italian Spritz aperitivo at Caffe’ dei Viaggiatori, a small Italian cafe’.